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THE Powerful Testimony of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui




SAFAR 1431 A.H.
(January 31, 2010)

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

As captured by El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

Aafia Siddiqui – a daughter, a sister, a mother of three, committed Muslim, social scientist, hafiz of Qur’an – needed to be heard. For years she had suffered in virtual silence…aching to be heard, to be understood, to have certain malicious untruths corrected and exposed for the lies they were. That day finally came on Thursday, January 28, 2010!

The high drama of that day’s proceedings revolved around the question of whether or not U.S. District Judge Richard Berman would grant Aafia’s repeated demand to take the stand in her own defense.

Aafia’s lawyers appeared to be animate in their opposition to her taking the stand, while the prosecution appeared (on the surface) to be in favor of Aafia being entitled to her Fifth Amendment right. Her brother (Muhammad) was apprehensive about her taking the stand, leaning more in favor of her following the advice of her lawyers. Even Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani became involved. During a short visit he was allowed with the defendant, he reportedly advised Aafia to follow the advice of her lawyers.

Aafia’s response to this collective concern was that she would make istiqara (a supplication to ALLAH Almighty for guidance on the matter); and in the end Aafia Siddiqui would be heard.

While I understood the reservations of those who were concerned about Aafia taking the stand (given all that she had already been through), I fully supported our sister’s right to be heard, and was guardedly optimistic about the potential outcome. More than anything, however, I knew that Aafia – like two young Muslim men in an Atlanta courtroom, and several young Muslim men in a New Jersey courtroom (who were eager, but manipulated into not taking the stand in their own defense not long ago) – needed to be heard! Aafia needed to have her day in court!

The process began with a preliminary (test) examination, with Aafia taking the witness stand in the absence of the jury – a kind of hearing within a hearing – to see how she would respond to that type of intensive and focused examination. After the judge determined that she was capable enough to enjoy her constitutional “right” to take the stand in her own defense, the jury was brought back into the courtroom, and it was on. (And what truly spectacular courtroom drama it turned out to be!)

The following summary is based on my notes from January 28th

Open court proceedings began late in the morning, due to a number of procedural issues that needed to be addressed behind closed doors. Once proceedings began, it did so with the judge explaining Aafia’s right, and the possible risks, of her taking the stand. There was extensive discussion about the course and extent of cross examination should Aafia decide to testify.

The government’s support of Aafia taking the stand was full of irony, given the fact that the government had repeatedly argued (during pre-trial and trial proceedings) that Aafia should not even be allowed to remain in the courtroom, because of her periodic outbursts and “uncontrollable” nature (in their view).

The First Witness

It was noted by the government that over a 12 day period, while Aafia was at the Craig Field Hospital at Bagram for critical care medical treatment, following her near fatal re-arrest in July 2008, two FBI agents had continuous access to the injured prisoner (a male and female who did not identify themselves to Aafia as FBI personnel).

FBI Special Agent Angela Sercer was the first to testify. She spoke about how she interrogated Aafia on a daily basis for the purpose of gathering “intelligence.” She described how she sat with Aafia for an average of eight hours each day, and of how they discussed the shooting incident and other related matters (discussions she said Aafia would always initiate). Agent Sercer prepared written reports, and disclosed during testimony that Aafia was never Mirandized (i.e. informed of her rights to remain silent and consult with an attorney before questioning), nor did she have access to a Pakistani consular official.

According to Sercer, Aafia mostly enjoyed her discussions with this special agent. Sercer maintained that she treated Aafia with respect and did her best to respond to Aafia’s needs – i.e. when she requested food, water, bathroom access, or when she requested a Qur’an and a scarf, or when she would complain that the “soft restraints” were too tight and needed to be loosened, etc.

Between 7/19/-8/4/08, FBI agents were posted inside and outside Aafia’s room 24 hours a day, ostensibly to insure that Aafia could not escape and to provide security for hospital personnel – despite the “soft restraints” which secured her hands and legs to the bed (in what Aafia later described as very uncomfortable positions) during her stay at this field hospital in Bagram.

The second witness

The second agent to testify was FBI Special Agent Bruce Kamerman, who had reportedly been assigned on 7/21/08. He claimed that Aafia made numerous statements, that she seemed lucid and to not be in much pain. He also insisted that there was never any coercion. He testified that Aafia had no visitors, and that no Afghan staff attended to her. He also claimed that there were occasions when Aafia would declare that her children were dead, and other times when she stated they might be living with her sister.

Following the testimony of the second agent, a hearing within the trial was held so that Aafia could give testimony (in the absence of the jury).

Aafia testified that when she first realized she was in a hospital she had tubes everywhere. She was in a narcotic state resulting from the administration of powerful drugs (one or two she could remember by name, others she couldn’t). She recalled how her hands and feet were secured uncomfortably apart. She said the agents never identified themselves as FBI, except for “Mr. Hurley.”

Aafia accused Agent Bruce Kamerman of subjecting her to “psychological torture.” She accused him of being immodest whenever he was present and medical personnel needed to examine her, and complained of how he would stand right outside the bathroom door whenever she needed to use it. She testified that Kamerman would sometimes come in the middle of the night (when he wasn’t supposed to be there), and encourage the person assigned to take a break. Aafia said she remained in a sleep deprived state as a result of his frequent presence.

During this period she never had any contact with family, nor with any Pakistani authorities. She thought that [FBI Agent] “Angela was just a nice person.”

During the cross examination Aafia spoke about being “tortured in the secret prison,” and of how she kept asking about her children. She insisted that she never opined that they might be with her sister.

(I should note here that Aafia’s testimony was consistent with information contained on an audio CD that we’ve produced on the case. On the CD, former Bagram and Guantanamo prisoner Moazam Beg recounts how the un-identified female prisoner at Bagram, known only as Prisoner 650, was identified as a Pakistani national who appeared to be in her 30s, and as someone who had been torn away from her children and who didn’t know where they were.)

Aafia also testified that she had multiple gunshot wounds; and that in addition to the gunshot wounds she had a debilitating back condition (resulting from being thrown on the floor after she was shot), persistent headaches, and an intubation tube. She also emphasized that she was in and out of consciousness; and, at times, mentally incoherent.

The video testimony of an Afghan security chief (by the name of Qadeer) was received by the court. While I had to briefly leave the court, and missed this testimony, it is my understanding that what Qadeer had to say about events at the Afghan National Police station in Ghazni – leading up to the shooting of Aafia – contradicted the testimony of a number of the government’s main witnesses.

Later in the afternoon, when Aafia testified in front of the jury, the overflow courtroom (where I was seated) was full of observers. The majority appeared to be non-Muslims in professional attire – a probable mix of court and Justice Department personnel (including interns), law students, and a few journalists. I would estimate that roughly a quarter of the observers in this overflow courtroom were made up of solid Aafia supporters – and yet the reaction to the testimony at times was both interesting and edifying.

When I returned to the courtroom (about 10 minutes into Aafia’s testimony), she was describing her academic work leading up to the achievement of her PhD at Brandeis University. She testified that after completing her doctorate studies she taught in a school, and that her interest was in cultivating the capabilities of dyslexic and other special needs children.

During this line of questioning, the monstrous image that the government had carefully crafted (with considerable support from mainstream media) of this petite young woman, had begun to be deconstructed. The real Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – the committed muslimah, the humanity-loving nurturer and educator, the gentle yet resolute mujahid for truth and justice – began to emerge with full force.

Testimony then proceeded to the events of July 17-18, 2008. Aafia testified that she remembered being concerned about the whereabouts of her missing children. She also remembered a press conference in an Afghan compound.

She testified about being tied down to a bed until she vigorously protested, and was later untied and left behind a curtain. She later heard American and Afghan voices on the other side of the curtain, and concluded that they [Americans] wanted to return her to a “secret prison” again. She testified about how she had pleaded with the Afghans not to let the Americans take her away.

She testified about peaking through the curtain into the part of the room where Afghans and Americans were talking, and how when a startled American soldier noticed her, he jumped up and yelled that the prisoner had gotten loose, and shot her in the stomach. She described how she was also shot in the side by a second person. She also described how after falling back onto the bed in the room, she was violently thrown to the floor and lost consciousness.

She testified that she was in and out of consciousness, and vaguely recalled being placed on a stretcher, a helicopter, and receiving a blood transfusion – which she protested, drawing laughter in the courtroom when she recounted how she had “threatened to sue” her medical attendants if they gave her a blood transfusion. During this testimony, Aafia animatedly rejected the allegation that she picked up a [M-4] rifle and fired it (or that she even attempted to do so).

The Cross Examination

This is the time when every eye and every ear was riveted on the proceedings. It was the moment that Aafia’s defense attorneys, her brother, and a host of Muslim and non-Muslim supporters (seated within both courtrooms) dreaded. It was also the point in the proceedings that had the prosecution salivating for what opportunities would come there way – or so they thought!

Cross examination began with Aafia revisiting the degrees that she received at MIT and Brandeis universities. She acknowledged that she took a required course in molecular biology; but emphasized that her work was in cognitive neuroscience. When questioned on whether she had ever done any work with chemicals, her response was, “only when required.”

(This opening line of questioning was significant for its prejudice producing potential in the minds of jurors. While Aafia is not being charged with any terrorism conspiracy counts, the threat of terrorism has been the pink elephant in the room throughout this troubling case!)

The prosecutor attempted to draw a sinister correlation between Aafia and her [then] husband being questioned by the FBI in 2002, and leaving the U.S. a week later. Aafia noted that there wasn’t anything sinister about the timing; they had already planned to make that trip home before the FBI visit. To underscore this point, she noted how she later returned to the U.S. to attempt to find work in her field.

One of the most heart-wrenching moments in the cross-examination was when Aafia described how she was briefly re-united with a young boy in Ghazni (July 2008) who could have been her oldest son. She spoke of how she was mentally in a daze at that time, and had not seen any of her children in five years. As a result she could not definitively (than or now) determine if that was indeed her son, Ahmed.

When asked whether she had incriminating documents in her possession on the day she was arrested, Aafia testified that the bag in her possession on the day that she was re-detained was given to her. She didn’t know what was in the bag, nor could she definitively determine if the handwriting on some of the documents was hers or not. She also mentioned on a number of occasions (to the chagrin of the prosecutor) how she was repeatedly tortured by her captors at Bagram.

She was also questioned on whether she had taken a pistol course at a firing range while a student in Boston. Her initial reaction was that she did not have any recollection of taking such a course, and when pressed further, answered “No.” When the prosecutor continued to press the issue (infusing sinister motivations in the process), Aafia admonished the prosecutor in the strong, clear voice that was heard throughout her testimony: “You can’t build a case on hate; you should build it on fact!”

Aafia testified that all she was thinking about at the time of her re-arrest in Ghazni, was “getting out of that room and not being sent back to the secret prison.” While discussions were going on between the Afghans and Americans, Aafia was searching for a way out. She repeated her assertion that she startled one of the soldiers who hollered, “She’s free! – before shooting her.

Aafia also elicited an approving reaction in the courtroom when she opined, in reaction to the government’s narration of events, she could not believe a soldier would be so irresponsible as to leave his M4 rifle on the floor unsecured.

In response to government questioning she again took the opportunity to strongly rebuke Agent Kamerman, while rejecting most of his testimony revisited by the prosecutor.

Aafia spoke highly of a number of nurses (and a doctor) who took care of her at Bagram. There was one nurse in particular that Aafia promised to mention favorably if she ever wrote a book. She then produced laughter in the courtroom again when she stated, “Since I don’t think I’m going to write a book, I’m mentioning her now.”

One of the most powerful and revealing moments in the testimony was when she spoke about the people who systematically abused her in the “secret prison” – denouncing them as “fake Americans, not real Americans.” (Because of the way their actions both violated and damaged America’s image!)

She spoke again, under cross examination, about the strong pain medication she was on, and some of the effects this medication had on her.

Aafia also mentioned how she was instructed to translate and copy something from a book while she was secretly imprisoned. During the course of this testimony which repeatedly drew the ire of an increasingly frustrated prosecutor, Aafia noted how she can now understand how people can be framed (for crimes they are not guilty of).

At this point in the proceedings, the judge ordered a brief recess. Clearly the government had thought that they would be able to control and manipulate Aafia in manner that would work in their favor; this ended up being a MAJOR MISCALCULATION. The purpose of this break in the proceedings, in my humble opinion, was to allow the prosecutor to regain her composure, and consult with fellow prosecutors for a more effective line of attack.

When testimony resumed, Aafia spoke of how she was often forced-fed information from one group of persons at the secret prison, and then made to regurgitate the same information before a different group of inquisitors. While it was presented to her as a type of “game,” she spoke of how she would be “punished” if she got something wrong.

On defense cross, Aafia was shown pictures and asked to identify herself in them. She reluctantly did so, but with a little levity, citing how unattractive and immodest the photos were.

I could not see the photos from the overflow courtroom where I was sitting, but I assume that these were the photos of an un-covered, emaciated and emotionally disfigured Aafia Siddiqui – after her horrific ordeal at the hands of American terrorists.

A final note: I sincerely believe that Aafia Siddiqui’s time spent on the witness stand on January 28th was a cathartic experience for her – but one that the prosecution, in retrospect, now deeply regrets. For any truly objective and fair-minded person who witnessed that day’s proceedings, the U.S Government’s case against Aafia Siddiqui was exposed for what it always was…a horrific and profoundly tragic miscarriage of justice!

The struggle continues…

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

© copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved



  1. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    February 1, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    Subhan Allah… speechless.

    May Allah manifest the truth and reward the patient and take into account the transgressors.

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      February 1, 2010 at 8:13 AM


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      February 1, 2010 at 8:17 AM


      Ameen to Sheikh Yasir’s dua.

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      Yus from the Nati

      February 1, 2010 at 1:20 PM


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      February 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM


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      February 6, 2010 at 2:21 PM

      Ameen. May Allah grant her a just and fair trial on the Day of Reckoning, because no one is a more honest Judge than Allah.

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      Abu AbdurRahman

      February 7, 2010 at 6:55 AM


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      February 9, 2010 at 11:50 AM

      Sheikh Yasir,

      I am a 13 year old kid, and I don’t exactly know the aggressor. Would you please add who the aggressors are? thank you

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      January 1, 2011 at 8:07 AM


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    February 1, 2010 at 10:25 AM


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    Abu Sauleh

    February 1, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Jazaak Allaah khayr for the well written update.
    May Allaah protect sister Aafia and and guide her through this ordeal. May Allaah destroy the plots of the oppressors and shower them with disgrace and humiliation.

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    February 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM


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    February 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    May Allah grant her strength and justice. Ameen.

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    Ibn AbuAisha

    February 1, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    SubhanAllah, truly moving…May Allah grant her justice.

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    Abu Ayyub

    February 1, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    May Allah grant peace, steadfastness and relief to our beloved Sister Aafia (fakkallahu asraha). May Allah (azza wa jall) send his angels to guard her from her enemies. May our Lord keep her patient and reward her with pearls and palaces in Paradise. May Allah azza wa jall grant her a resounding victory in court and free her from the evil injustice that has befallen her and her children. May He azza wa jall exalt her mention and make her suffering an expiation for her sins, and me He gather her with the likes of Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both), the Mothers of the Believers and the righteous, God-fearing women of past and present. Ameen!

    And May Allah (azza wa jall) make a lesson out of those who have oppressed her, those who have lied about her, those who have laid false charges against her, those who have abused her, those who have deprived her of her children, those who have and continue to strip-search her, those who have imprisoned her unjustly…we ask Allah to gather these evil oppressors with the likes of Pharaoh on the Day of Judgement and, if guidance is not written for these wrongdoers, we ask Allah disgrace, humiliate and punish them in this world before their punishment in the next. Ameen!

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    Umm Bilqis

    February 1, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Allahumma release our innocents from the prisons of the unjust whomever they are and wherever they are!
    Allahumma return our aseer our prisoners and return them to their families in safety and security!
    Oh Allaah they need safety and security please return them to their families!
    Oh Allaah whoever mistreats them, mistreat him/ or her!
    Oh Allaah they need your mercy so give them your mercy Yaa Rabb!
    Oh Allaah correct the state/situation of the Muslims everywhere You are Al Muhaymin (The Protector), Al Aziz (the Mighty), Al Adl (the Just)!
    Dhul Jalal Wal Ikraam, The Possessor of Majesty and Honor. Say: Ameen

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    February 1, 2010 at 4:35 PM


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    February 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    May Allah swt protect you from the guffar) or should it be said the dajjal army! the Americans, who think they have the whole world in control! sister Afia is the most patient, woman ive ever known about, mashallah…

    They may get away with it in this world but in the hereafter they will be the one’s that will be humiliated infront of Allah swt eyes… and the punishement will be endless!!!!!!!!……………………….

    Oh Allah protect us from such people, especially muslims! who are suffering aroud the world! Ameen.

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    February 1, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    I have been following this case (not closely) and I hope that Ms. Siddiqui is freed from any allegations of wrong-doing. What I still find troubling though, is that even if she did not do the activities mentioned in the court briefs, reports still indicate that Aaifia may still have an unstable mental state. For example, she said she did not want to have any “Jewish” jurors in the courtroom… I know that this looks bad on Aaifia but this could be used by the defense to showcase Aaifia sadly unstable mental state (could caused by many things; only Allah and she knows what those are). Any comments?

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      February 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

      this lady went thru stuff who men even cant go through
      i think she is amazing

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      Umm Bilqis

      February 3, 2010 at 12:45 AM

      Sure here’s your comment:

      Sister Aafia probably meant Zionist jurors…..that’s it.

      Something to do with the fox guarding the hen house etc.

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      February 3, 2010 at 6:03 AM

      Please see my comment below. Sorry, I should have put it here.

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    February 1, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    May ALLAH help her and give her patience. Aameen. May ALLAH help every wronged person against their oppressors.

    Aameen thumma Aameen to the sheikh’s dua.

  13. Pingback: Yvonne Ridley on Sister Aafia Siddiqui « Cool Guy Muslim’s Blog

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    February 1, 2010 at 11:17 PM


  15. Pingback: Yvonne Ridley on Sister Aafia Siddiqui |

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    February 2, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    This brought tears to my eyes. Ya Allah, help her.

    Fa Inna ma’al usri Yusra, Ina ma’al usri yusra.

    Ameen. summa ameen. Ya Rab ul Aalamameen.

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    Umm Reem

    February 2, 2010 at 5:58 AM

    sunhanAllah….may Allah help the oppressed and release them from the oppression and injustice..

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    February 2, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    subhanAllah, how is it even possible that this nothing short of miraculous? After everything she went through she is still able to testify for herself.

    I cant imagine any other religion or belief that the harder you push it the more the iman increases.
    Inshallah my Allah grant her jannat Al-Fordous and forgive her and have mecy upon her. Ammen

    Dear Sister Aafia — please stay strong! I dont think I will ever think of this Hadith and not think of what you have went through

    Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said:

    That one amongst the denizens of Hell who had led a life of ease and plenty amongst the people of the world would be made to dip in Fire only once on the Day of Resurrection and then it would be said to him: O, son of Adam, did you find any comfort, did you happen to get any material blessing? He would say: By Allah, no, my Lord.

    And then that person from amongst the persons of the world be brought who had led the most miserable life (in the world) from amongst the inmates of Paradise. and he would be made to dip once in Paradise and it would be said to him. 0, son of Adam, did you face, any hardship? Or had any distress fallen to your lot? And he would say: By Allah, no,0 my Lord, never did I face any hardship or experience any distress.

    [Muslim :: Book 39 : Hadith 6738 ]

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    Sajad Malik frm Kashmir

    February 2, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    Dear brothers and sisters
    I have a hope in Allah that the sister be freed and get united with her children. Her response that she will pray istikhara for her to take stand in her defense, speaks volumes of her absolute faith in the Allah, muslims allude to god almighty…it was heart breaking to read a devote, muslimah pleading before her fellow muslim brothers not to send her with Americans in a secret jail…how helpless of us? even shaitan must be feeling pitty on us…
    we pray to Allah, not to confront us with the sister on the yomul-kayamah, for she may grab us by our collars and complain…”O brother, what did you do for me”. we pray to Allah to absolve us of our criminal silence towards a sister that is so full of love and compassion. Sister…ya akthie, we salute ur patience n, with moist eyes we turn to Allah and pray for you and your family. May Allah reward you in here and in the hereafter, may you be granted the highest levels of jannah, and even if we meet there Inshallah…may you not have any animosity towards your shameless fellow muslim brothers..may you not complain. terrorists demand your silence in this world and we, the muslims request your silence in the hereafter.

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    abu Rumay-s.a.

    February 2, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    HusbunAllahu wa na`mal wakeel…. May Allah ta`ala grant her jannatul ferdous with the prophets and grant her ultimate justice against those who harmed her and return her safely to her children and family…ameen…

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    February 2, 2010 at 7:06 PM


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    February 3, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    i will pray always fro her as she is innocent and she has done nothing wrong.i will since she is highly educated and very pure soul the west does like her but inshallah the days are not far when success will kiss ker feet.pls pray for this sister as she is a very pure woman.Almighty Allah bless her and her whole family and keep thee a long and healthy life.Ameen

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    February 3, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    O Allah! Free our sister from the clutches of her oppressors and reunite her with her children and family. Ameen.

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    February 3, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    Pakistani MD I just wanted to mention that Dr. Aafia studied at Brandeis University, which is a Jewish school. She would be very familiar with the Jewish community in the U.S. So, if this comment was made, it was not from some ignorant or prejudiced point of view (like many who make Islamophobic comments), but from some real practical experience. Basically, if she said it, it was for a very good reason.

    Ameen to all of your du’as for Dr. Aafia.

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    concerned sister

    February 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    If only the American public can open their eyes to cases like these; fraud cases. This is not the only case where the FBI has accused an innocent civilian of “terrorism”. I really hope that justice is served here and may God help us all.

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      Umm Bilqis

      February 3, 2010 at 4:36 PM

      Inna lillA wa inalahi rajioon.
      The arrogant ones have brainwashed the masses for years that Muslims are terrorists so how can you expect them to turn towards her with compassion and mercy?
      They have become Bullies and have suspended the truth and justice that they used to try to carry out in their court systems.
      When will the Muslims stand up for Truth and Justice everywhere?

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    Abu Moaaz

    February 3, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    Ameen to all these duas. May Allah SWT protect our sister and make the truth manifest even further.

    And say: Truth hath come and falsehood hath vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to vanish. Al-Isra 17:81

    I also pray that they put the prosecutors and all the other terrorists and lie-mongers on trial and punish them with the most severe punishments.

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      February 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM

      Not gonna happen.

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    February 3, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Any update? Those in the court room, please keep us updated.I heard that Jury is deliberating?

  28. Amad


    February 3, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    From AP Pakistan

    A New York jury deliberated for several hours on Tuesday without reaching a verdict in the case of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel in Afghanistan.
    The deliberations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, at the end of which a verdict is expected.

    When juries take this long, it could be a good sign perhaps inshallah. At least, they aren’t ready to jump at her conviction, considering all the fear-mongering done by the prosecution.

    Here is an interesting article by a HRW lawyer:

    But there’s no doubt that as the members of the jury deliberate, they’ll be wondering about what happened to Siddiqui well before she arrived in Ghazni. If the present trial is not the right place for solving that conundrum, a better option should be found.

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    Ahmad AlFarsi

    February 3, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.. The jury found her guilty of attempted murder today.

  30. Avatar

    Very Sad

    February 3, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Inna Lillahi wa inna ilahi rajioon…. I feel so sick right now

  31. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    February 3, 2010 at 3:12 PM


    February 3, 2010, New York, NY – The International Justice Network (IJNetwork) represents the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in the United States. Attorneys from IJNetwork have been monitoring her trial, which began on January 19, and ended with a guilty verdict today in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.

    “Today marks the close of another sad chapter in the life of our sister, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Today she was unjustly found guilty. Though she was not charged with any terrorism-related offense, Judge Berman permitted the prosecution’s witnesses to characterize our sister as a terrorist — which, based on copious evidence, she clearly is not. Today’s verdict is one of many legal errors that allowed the prosecution to build a case against our sister based on hate, rather than fact. We believe that as a result, she was denied a fair trial, and today’s verdict must be overturned on appeal.”

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    February 3, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    la hawla wa la quwwata ila billah.

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    February 3, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Sorry but as a Muslim I dont have a lot of sympathy for her. She chose to run with the wrong crowd and it eventually got her into trouble. She obviously hasn’t changed her radical ways either.

    After declaring the verdict came from Israel, she turned toward spectators in the packed courtroom and said: “Your anger should be directed where it belongs. I can testify to this and I have proof.”

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      February 3, 2010 at 5:43 PM

      Akhi, go get yourself drugged and tortured for a couple years and then tell me what kind of statements you’ll be making in court.

      We do have radicals in our midst, but to claim she is one of them is to do so without evidence or basic reading of her case.

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        February 3, 2010 at 8:20 PM

        her own husband claimed she is a radical, i guess you know more about her than the father of her children?

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          February 3, 2010 at 8:28 PM

          Do you? You take the testimony of one?

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          Umm Reem

          February 3, 2010 at 9:53 PM

          AhmedKhan: so much for that “father of her children” who had no concern about his missing children for five years….speaks volumes about him…his testimony regarding his wife should be disregarded in toto.

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            Abdus Sabur

            February 4, 2010 at 4:25 AM

            Are we not to make 70 excuses for our brother/sister? None of us are in a position to judge this sister. We should be compassionate, kind and remember who knows best. Allah. qul, Allahu Alim.

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          March 5, 2010 at 7:30 AM

          Why are u believing his husband. Yvonne Ridley has already challenged him.
          May be he said it because of some kind of pressure or may he also got sold out like Musharaff.

          Her reaction is normal. How can u expect someone to react after getting torture for 5 years.

      • Amad


        February 3, 2010 at 11:05 PM

        She’s radical because she is blaming Israel?

        I think that would make the majority of the world radical. As most blame the entire war on terror and subsequent injustices as having their fountainhead in the occupation. I don’t think this particular case had direct ties to Israel, but if we are talking about some of the reasons behind Islamophobia, one can look the Lobby in its eyes for a lot of it.

        • Avatar


          February 6, 2010 at 11:39 AM

          Actually, she’s radical because she displayed herself to be anti-Semitic with her anti-Jewish rant of hers and the fact that she is a Taliban activist.

          The majority of the world despises the Taliban, Amad, including many Muslims (especially Shi’as), does that mean they are Islamophobic? Are you going to ban people for disagreeing and condemning the Taliban now?

          • Avatar


            February 6, 2010 at 8:27 PM

            Actually Dan she could not have been anti-semitic as sister ummi mentioned in an earlier post : ”…Dr. Aafia studied at Brandeis University, which is a Jewish school. She would be very familiar with the Jewish community in the U.S. So, if this comment was made, it was not from some ignorant or prejudiced point of view (like many who make Islamophobic comments), but from some real practical experience. Basically, if she said it, it was for a very good reason.”

            I hate zionists and despise them beacuse of their greed and the great harm they cause to so many. If that is what she meant by not having jews in the court room .i.e pro-zionists then she is totally right and there is nothing radical about not wanting to have radicals in the same room with you.

            And the taliban? They are definitely misguided Muslims but even if she was pro-Taliban how on earth does it help to call her a radical? Rather than showing her their faults how does it help her or anybody to call them a radical?

            Muslims are not supposed to act like this American government, that supplies the ethnic-cleansing,aparthied Terrorist state of israel with weapons and the will to do as they wish. We are not supposed to be pointing fingers at each other with glee and looking for faults with no intention of helping them become better people and calling each other terrorists when the real unjust terrorists are getting away with everything.

            We are not supposed to be handing Muslims to haters/kuffar, we are their protectors after Allah, and their guidance after Allah,when they do wrong we correct them ,when they fall we support them and when they oppress we prevent them….The beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said,

            “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed,” A man said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him.”

            Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 84 Book 85, Volume 009 Narrated by Anas (Radiyallaahu `anhu)

            What I am very saddened by apart from the aseera’s case, our sister Afia’s tragic case, is the apparent disregard some ‘Muslims’ have in making up their minds about her innocence ,and the looking down at her with this ”holier than thou attiude. Where is the honour in putting down a believer in Allah and his Messenger? Where is the excuse we make on their behalf?

            The least a Muslim can do is pray, make dua’, ask Allah to overlook their brother’s mistakes, their sins…to have husn addhan of them things so small and easy to do aided by the mercy present in the hearts.
            ‘Can I put mercy in your hearts after Allah has removed it from them?'”

            Wal alhamdulilah, and may Allah forgive the sins of all Muslims, and free any prisoners held unjustly, and make our hearts soft towards the weak , the needy and the oppressed, Ameen.

          • Avatar


            February 10, 2010 at 10:33 AM

            You’re talking nonsense, Dan. Israel is a terrorist state set up by non-semitic East European Jews, the same virulent variety who exercise disproportionately large influence in the West. I checked some of your comments on Umar Lee’s blog and it is YOU who is anti-semitic with your anti-arab and anti-Islamic nonsense.
            What evidence do you that that Dr.Afia is a “Taliban activist”? You have none, you just made it up, hoping to establish her guilt.

            Dr.Afia is a political prisoner and victim of Anglo-American terrorism which seeks to silence any opposition to its criminal domination of the planet. If I were you I’d repent because your time is up.

          • Avatar


            February 8, 2011 at 6:52 PM

            One question for Aaafia Siddiqui Supporter:

            There are 6 million muslims in America. Millions of them have have professional jobs/degree. Thousands of them have criticized US policies/justice.


            Don’t you all sit on computer and act innocents. America is still the most-just country in the world!

  34. Avatar

    Very Sad

    February 3, 2010 at 3:45 PM


    Shut up moron. She was very well known in the MA area, and everyone who knows her knows she’s innocent.

  35. Avatar


    February 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Absolutely disgusting decision.

    May Allah free our sister and grant her and her family jannatul firdous!

  36. Avatar

    Abu Bakr

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Aafia’s mother reacts:

    YouTube – 03.02.10 Dr Afia mother talking to media. GREAT SPEACH BY HER.

    She says proud and considers it a blessing of Allah that America’s injustice has been exposed by this case. She also says, “the judge maybe hoping that Aafia’s mother will hear the verdict and faint or die, tell him that this verdict has given her life…”

    For those who understand Urdu, this is a must hear speech.

    • Avatar


      February 3, 2010 at 8:15 PM

      marking her daughter’s imprisonment as the downfall of america. looks like the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

      • Avatar


        February 3, 2010 at 8:27 PM

        Brother Ahmed Khan, if you have any reservations about her innocence, I advise you to keep it to yourself. Firstly, you are not certain beyond reasonable doubt to assert that the evidence is true. You neither saw or heard. Also, as Muslims, we should assume good of people unless proven otherwise. In this case, we can only hope that she is innocent. None can assert that they are 100 percent sure either way. Although many muslims will inadvertently allow their emotions to get the best of them and say what you say or defend her. I urge that we make dua for her. Even if she is guilty, she still deserves dua and strength. Even a sinful muslim deserves mercy from God. It’s quite painful that you would say that you feel no pity. Either you say what is good and neutral by ascribing all knowledge to God or you will end up overstepping your bounds and giving hasanat away

        • Avatar

          Abdus Sabur

          February 4, 2010 at 4:33 AM

          Any adult with critical thinking ability can tell that all of the charges against her are a fabrication. This is akin to very poorly written B-movie. I do hope that this travesty of justice is wake up call for muslims. May Allah unite us, strengthen our iman, give us taufiq and taqwa. Astagfirallah!

      • Avatar


        March 5, 2010 at 7:35 AM

        I hope this happens to your daughter or sister and i would love to see your reaction.

  37. Avatar


    February 3, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Seems like “AhmedKhan” is “Muhammad Khan” with new name and different IP.

    • Avatar

      Very Sad

      February 3, 2010 at 9:33 PM

      Maybe he should rename himself Moron Khan

      • Avatar


        February 3, 2010 at 10:12 PM

        There’s no benefit in calling him a moron or starting a flame war on a topic that is dedicated to Dr. Aafia. He is going off what he is told and maybe reflecting a fear of being lumped in with terrorists and therefore disassociating and demonizing anyone who has been called a radical.

        Apparently a Mother cursing a country that has tortured her daughter for years and now unjustly convicts her of a crime she did not commit is very “radical”.

        And an even more apparent sign of “radicalism” is for Dr. Aafia to tell the people not to violently protest in Pakistan.

  38. Amad


    February 3, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    The jury represents what is becoming of a once-just American soul. The people’s soul. This soul needs some serious soul-searching… the result of the trial is as shocking and unjust as was the OJ trial, just flipped around. Without evidence, with serious doubts spread throughout, the jury found the Prosecution story to be believable??

    But then again, consider where this trial was conducted. New York. It’s almost like trying to prosecute a Japanese in Pearl Harbor a few years later after the attack.

    There is SO much that stinks of this case that I don’t even know where to start.

    This is a moment of shame for America and a moment where Islamophobia officially became legal!

    As for AhmedKhan, he can sit in the same spam folder from now on, as his brother MohammedKhan. It is not so much that he disagrees with 99% of fair people. It is that instead of arguing about case specifics, it’s the same ole pathetic tangents.

  39. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    February 4, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    “The nations may live long in spite of their disbelief, but they cannot live long when they do oppression.” -Ibn Taymiyyah

    • Avatar

      Abdus Sabur

      February 4, 2010 at 4:37 AM

      Jazakallhu khair for the reminder Umm Reem.

  40. Avatar


    February 4, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    The real world is the next world. This is temporary.

  41. Avatar


    February 4, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    May the Muslims be freed of oppression.

  42. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 5, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    No! Most people realize that the people in power can not be trusted.
    That is why their own system has checks and balances however they bypassed this system using the Patriot act and cast a net so wide that innocents are being persecuted!

  43. Pingback: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Guilty of US murder attempt - IB Islamic Forum

  44. Avatar

    Asmat N

    February 6, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    May Allah bless you. My pray for you and all fighters for justice

  45. Avatar


    February 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    I’m sorry but wasn’t she a Taliban activist and an al-Qaeda sympathizer to begin with?

  46. Avatar


    February 6, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Also, what is pathetic is that the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan is just doing what it always has done in Pakistan…by playing up the Dr. Aafia hysteria among the Deobandis and playing up the non-issues while ignoring the glaring problems plaguing the country like sectarian terrorists and the Taliban’s war on the Pakistani people and the Wahabi madrassas which churn out batch after batch of ignorant, supremacist bigoted men who want to take Pakistan back into the medieval ages.

    Kinda like some of the commenters on here who continue to praise the Taliban and their oppression, as long as it suits their narrow-minded worldview.

    Just a couple of days ago, the Taliban bombed a hospital and a minibus, but I forgot…they were mainly Shi’as so I don’t expect anyone here to be sympathetic to them. Because after all, they are “misguided” /sarcasm

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      February 6, 2010 at 1:51 PM

      Do not answer this silly rant about Pakistan. We do not live their!

      This thread is about injustice here in North America by a system that has bypassed its normal checks and balances and instituted a abnormal, immoral Patriot Act that strips people of due process& rights!

      These hate monger Islamophobes wish to split the brethren so that we do not concern ourselves with the affairs of the weak prisoners.

      “Do they then seek the judgment of Ignorance?
      And who is better in Judgment than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.” Maa’idah: 50 (Holy Quraan)

      • Avatar

        Umm Bilqis

        February 6, 2010 at 4:32 PM

        “Do they then seek the judgment of Ignorance?
        And who is better in Judgment than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.” Maa’idah: 50 (Holy Quraan)

        The justice has been hijacked and its previous and just checks and balances have been bypassed by the Immoral, Unjust Patriot.

        Dan is a Zionist agent and apparent troll screeching about actions we cannot verify if true or not in other countries.

        We must highlight the injustices in the systems we live under and ask for justice to be served.

    • Amad


      February 6, 2010 at 10:57 PM

      Your rants about taliban, shias, and other misc. talking points in EVERY post that has nothing to do with those subject, frankly seems like an obsessive compulsive disorder that you possess.

      We are not supporting taliban, we are not supporting anti-shia or anti-Muslim violence, we are not supporting any sort of violence against non-Muslims or non-sunnis. In fact, we have highlighted support AGAINST them in many posts on MM. We also had a post not long ago about Egypt and Malaysian non-Muslim minorities. We have been hammered by the “keyboard jihadi” elements for being “agents of the West” for speaking the truth about justice, even if it is against our own selves.

      If anyone supports violence and injustice by Muslims or by non-Muslims on MM, you can bet we will not wait for you before deleting it.

      You seem to be like a Steve Emerson planted troll who continues to rant about the same thing in the hope that someone would agree with your nonsense and then you can roll all commentators and posters here in the guilt-by-association trap. NONE of the individual writers speak for all of MM, and CERTAINLY none of the commentators speak for MM or all the rest of the commentators.

      So, let me make it quite simple for you. UNTIL you talk DIRECTLY to the post, that is RELEVANT to the post, you will be moderated.

      You raised a question:
      “I’m sorry but wasn’t she a Taliban activist and an al-Qaeda sympathizer to begin with?”

      And before providing any evidence of this, you went on a rant against Taliban. I could similarly say that you are a MOSSAD agent without any proof. And then I can go on a rant about how bad MOSSAD are, just to make it sound that anyone who supports you is supporting MOSSAD. Enough of these dirty tricks.

      Provide proof or refrain from trolling. And no, FOX doesn’t count.

      After you provide proof, which you can’t, then we will discuss how that is relevant to this case.

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2010 at 11:56 AM

      Uh haannhh… Was this a plaguing problem before or after war on terrorism? Was it always plaguing all of Pakistan, or was it just plaguing the isolated remote region of Pakistan?

  47. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 6, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    “Observers asked how they could ignore the science and the irrefutable facts … there was absolutely no evidence linking Dr Aafia to the gun, no bullets, no residue from firing it.

    But I really don’t think we can blame the jurors for the verdict – you see the jury simply could not handle the truth. Had they taken the logical route and gone for the science and the hard, cold, clinical facts it would have meant two things. It would have meant around eight US soldiers took the oath and lied in court to save their own skins and careers or it would have meant that Dr Aafia Siddiqui was telling the truth.”
    From article by Yvonne Ridley, ICH.

  48. Avatar


    February 7, 2010 at 2:05 AM


    Plz read following article by Yvonne Ridley:


  49. Avatar


    February 7, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Absolutely ridiculous verdict. This verdict is extremely demoralizing.

    I wonder how Bowe Robert Bergdahl may suffer for such a mockery of justice.

  50. Amad


    February 8, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    Excellent article:

    Imran Khan, probably one of the few honest and sincere politicians in Pakistan asks three questions from USA and Pakistan.

  51. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 8, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Journalist Chris Hedges (TRUTHDIG)discusses the Terror- Industrial Complex.Specifically as it relates to Sr. Aafia article from (ICH).

  52. Avatar


    February 9, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    What can you do to help your sister?
    In addition to dua (prayer):

    1) Write to Aafia Siddiqui:


    2) Send money to Aafia by one of two methods:

    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    Post Office Box 474701
    Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

    The deposit must be in the form of a money order made out to the inmate’s full committed name and complete eight digit register number. Cheques and cash cannot be accepted. The sender’s name and return address must appear on the upper left hand corner of the envelope to ensure that the funds can be returned to the sender in the event that they cannot be posted to the inmate’s account. The deposit envelope must not contain any items intended for delivery to the inmate.


    You can also send money via Western Union ‘s Quick Collect Program –
    At an agent location with cash: The inmate’s family or friends must complete a Quick Collect Form. To find the nearest agent, they may call 1-800-325-6000 or go to

    By phone using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family or friends may simply call 1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.

    ONLINE using a credit/debit card: go to and select “Quick Collect”

    You need to include the following:

    1) 90279-054 (prison no.)
    2) Aafia Siddiqui entered on

  53. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 10, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Imran Khan On Dr. Aafia an interview with Yvonne Ridley:

  54. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 10, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    Dr Paul Craig Roberts wrote this article about the case of Aafia and other muslim prisoners. May Allah honor him with Islaam.Ameen.

    • Avatar

      Abdus Sabur

      February 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM

      Great link!!! There’s also one on corporate raping of america which is also excellent! jazakallhu khair

  55. Avatar

    Abu Moin

    February 12, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    May Allah give strength and power to Sister Aafia. Ameen
    And big Ameen to Shaikh Yasir Qadhi’s dua.

    Sister Aafia keep strong !

  56. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 13, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    Video>Paul Craig Roberts On Aafia, ICH Link:

  57. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Dr. Aafia Siddique and Justice in the service of Empire(ICH) :

  58. Avatar

    tajweed quran online

    February 16, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    may Allah help her and she is a brave women and is a great sister of all of us amean

  59. Avatar


    February 17, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    Ya Allah,please help Aafia.Give her all support

  60. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    February 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Ultimately what I find truly sad is that Muslims can some times fall into issues that are not top priorities and they continue to struggle in these efforts and draw the attention away from worthier causes and issues.

    I command myself foremost and ask my brothers and sisters in Islam to withstand the machinations of all forces that draw our attention from worthier and weightier matters. Insha’Allah Ameen.

    These forces are in our midst as well as outside of our ranks and they think that they are successful, but they are not Insha’Allah. Many Muslims are waking up and will Insha’Allah frustrate their attempts in shaping our opinion or beliefs.

    The Oppressors will go from Full spectrum domination to Full spectrum Humiliation Insha’Allah, unless the saner ones amongst them prevail and stir their countries towards genuine peace and dialogue.

    For now our concerns should be with the aseer and the innocents.

  61. Avatar


    March 1, 2010 at 1:18 PM


    Plz visit website:

    Support Dr. Aafia & hundreds of missing persons in Pakistan!

  62. Avatar


    March 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM




  63. Avatar


    March 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM


    Plz also see links below:

    Aafia Siddiqui Torture/Kidnapping Claims Ignored:
    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  64. Avatar

    just another ayesha

    April 11, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    don’t worry Dr Aafia, Allah willing, we’ll read your book one day, and will be present on the book signing too.
    i have faith. we all do.

  65. Avatar

    Azmat Usman

    September 24, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    Dr Aafia is daughter of Pakistan
    Istqamat Ko Teri Salam Afia
    Ya Allah,please help Aafia
    Support Aafia and Missing Persons
    مظلوموں کے حقوق کیلئے بر سر پیکار رہناہی تو زندگی ہے
    ہر نقاب فروش کا نقاب اتارا جائے گا۔کچھ نہیں رہے گا’بس نام رہے گا میرے اللہ کا!
    مد د چا ہتی ہے یہ حوا کی بیٹی
    اے زمین و آسمان کے خالق۔۔۔۔۔۔
    مدد مدد مدد مدد

  66. Avatar


    September 25, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    May Allah give her sabr
    Only khalifah can protect the muslims.

  67. Avatar

    Issadeen Rilwan

    October 20, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    Allah will save and serve the Muslims in the world

  68. Avatar

    Mika Jones

    April 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Let the truth be heard and Justice may prevail at all times. Don’t be afraid to say what is the truth.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

From Sri Lanka – The Niqab Ban and The Politics of Distraction




This article was originally published on Groundviews


As of last Monday, Sri Lanka is taking a seat at the table next to a list of 13 other countries from across the world who have passed legislation banning the niqab or face veil.

Amidst incensed murmurs from certain parliamentarians, and following a discussion with the country’s main Islamic theological body, the All Ceylon Jammiatul Ulema (ACJU), the President’s office has announced that ‘any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a person’s face would be barred.’ Sri Lanka has been under emergency regulations following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people. The ban will hold until emergency regulations are lifted.

Ever since the identification of the all-male terrorists behind the massacre as members of militant group ISIS, Muslim women -for some inexplicable reason- were to bear the hardest brunt. Instances of headscarved Muslim women being refused entry at various supermarkets and prominent establishments, was followed by the usual scaremongering via alarmist infographics doing the rounds yet again ‘educating’ the public of the differences between the burqa, hijab, and chador.

A victory indeed for both anti-Muslim voices, as well as to many within the Muslim community seeking to audibly amputate themselves from a supposedly dated form of Islam – one that they claim has no bearing to inherent Sri Lankan Muslim identity.  A view that discards the notion that any religious or ethnic identity is fluid, in flux, and subject to constant evolution.

The grand slam however is primarily for the current political establishment, members of whom are probably high-fiving each other as a result of this kneejerk symbol-politics manoeuvre on having supposedly successfully placated the public of their fears of homegrown terrorism. A move that bleeds hypocrisy for it comes at the cost of subliminally ‘othering’ an already marginalized segment of a minority community, while at the same time PSA’ing for peace and coexistence in this time of crisis.

What is most insulting to the intelligence of our society however, is that amidst all this brouhaha, only few have questioned the actual relevance of this new ban to the current state of our security affairs.

No eye witness report nor CCTV footage showed that any of the suicide bombers from any of the coordinated attacks across the country were on that day wearing the niqab/burqa/chador at the time of inflicting their terror. The men were in fact dressed in men’s attire, with faces completely exposed. It might serve to add here also that they weren’t dressed in traditional Muslim man garb either.

How then did the face veiling Muslim woman get pushed under the bus as the most identifiable sign of radicalism?

It is obvious that the government was cornered into passing this legislation, as was the ACJU too in having to support this move. While all communities have only their praises to sing for the exceptional work of the security forces in tracking down the attackers within only just hours, the country’s elected leadership was in dire need of respite following what many experts claim was a massive intelligence failure, a blunder involving the wrongful identification of a terror suspect, and incompetence in the handling of events overall. A distraction was desperately required. Something needed to give, and it just so happened that the niqab-donning Muslim woman was the easiest scapegoat.

To an outsider unfamiliar with Muslim religious symbolism, the face-veil can come across as alien, even unnerving. And while our first instinct is to otherize in an attempt to help deal with the discomfort of dealing with any unknown, a woman out in the street in a niqab is -for as long as anyone can remember- most certainly not an oddity that has compelled anyone to stop and recite their final rites.

The misguided belief that the face veil is a marker of extremism isn’t and hasn’t ever been based on any empirical research. If studies were to be carried out, results would show that Muslim women in general -let alone those with a face cover- have a little role to play, if any, for acts of terror committed in all the countries that have banned them.

Contrarily, there is a clear proven relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in recorded Islamophobic incidents against Muslims, with women being disproportionately targeted. One can then dare infer that being visibly Muslim carries a greater risk to oneself, than to the people around them.

The niqab ban has been put in place as a security measure they say – a flexing of muscles towards any semblance of radicalization that will deter any future acts of terror in the country. Naturally, the perpetuating of this ideological hegemony is doing Muslim women no favors. If anything, the ban is a wholly counterproductive one, in that it ostracizes an already marginalized segment of a minority community – a sliver of a percentage out of the 10% that is the country’s Muslim population.

If -as commonly believed- veiled Muslim women are being hopelessly persecuted, the ban will serve only to increasingly confine these women to their homes, under the control of the men accused of governing their lives, and further disconnected from being able to assimilate with society. Even more dangerous, there are studies which prove that having to live in an environment that is aggressively policed on the basis of belief is more likely to harbour radicalization.

Absurdity of the non-connection of the attacks with the niqab ban aside, this in itself should be a war cry for secular feminists advocating for everyone’s basic right to the civil freedoms of a liberal society. Where now are the proponents and ambassadors so wholly soaked in the ‘Muslim woman saviour complex?’ A segment of Muslim women has been forbidden from wearing what they feel best represents their Sri Lankan Muslim identity. They were not consulted before this legislation was passed, nor were they given the chance to show their willingness to cooperate on instances where identification was required.

Ludicrously, discourses surrounding veiled Muslim women are paradoxically lobbed back and forth according to the convenience of the times. In times of world peace, they are oppressed and subservient to patriarchal whims and fancies, while in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack there are hostile and threatening, capable of devising all kinds of evil. They are either victims of violence or the perpetrators of it.

This age-old preoccupation with Muslim women’s attire is in actuality a gross conflation of conservatism with extremism. In claiming that a strip of cloth holds the answer to combatting a severe global threat is trivialising the greater issues at hand. If there was a direct correlation between the attacks and veiled individuals, legislation forbidding the covering of the face in public would be wholly justified. But there is none.

Muslim women shouldn’t be faulted for the cracks in the state’s china. In not being able to answer the hard questions of accountability, lapses in acting on available intelligence, and general good governance, those at the top should leave well alone and consider hiding their faces instead.

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#Current Affairs

Potential Retrial In Sight For Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

The struggle and trials of the honorable Imam Jamil Al-Amin

Hamzah Raza



It was the night of March 16th, 2000. That day had been Eid, the holiest day of the year for West End’s Muslim community. Prayers were held by Imam Jamil Al-Amin, the soft-spoken, bookish Imam, who was famously known in the civil rights movement as H. Rap Brown prior to his conversion to Islam. That night, police officers pulled up to the Imam’s convenience store with a warrant for his arrest. The police saw a man and asked him to put his hands up: 5’8”, gray eyes, and 170 pounds, as eyewitnesses would later tell.

Asked to put his hands up, that man would instead pull out a handgun. A shootout between the man and two police officers would ensue. The man would then go to his trunk and pull out a lightweight, semi-automatic carbine Ruger Mini-14 with an extended clip housing 40 .223 caliber rounds of ammunition. Using military grade weapons, this man would murder one police officer and injure another. This man, Otis Jackson, would eventually confess to committing the crime.

Eventually, Imam Jamil Al-Amin would be charged for this crime. Neither Jackson’s confession of the crime nor his matching the description of the shooter would be included in Al-Amin’s trial. For the jury, this evidence was nonexistent.

Eyewitness testimony claims that the man who killed the police officer was not only 5’8” and 170 pounds with gray eyes but also that he suffered gunshot wounds. While Jackson fits this description, Imam Jamil Al-Amin is 6’5”, lanky, has brown eyes, and did not suffer a single wound. A 911 call also claimed that the shooter was bleeding out and walking around West End looking for a ride.

Otis Jackson was on parole at the time of the shooting for a previous crime he had permitted. He told his parole officer he had a shift working at a local diner at the time. When the officers told him to put his hands up, he felt the handgun in his pocket. Violating his parole and possessing an illegal weapon, Jackson knew that he would be sent back to jail. Aware of this, he decided to shoot at the police officers instead of putting his hands up.

That night, Jackson went home and received a call from Sentinel Company, which provided the monitoring for his ankle bracelet. The Sentinel representative asked where Jackson was, to which he replied that he was at work. The representative then told Jackson that this would be marked down as a violation, to which Jackson agreed and quickly ended the conversation.

He then had female friends who were nurses come and treat him for his wounds. He told them that he was robbed. Jackson called a friend named Mustapha Tanner, and ask him to get rid of Jackson’s vast arsenal of weapons: three Ruger Mini‐14 rifles, an M16 assault rifle, a .45 handgun, three 9mm handguns and a couple of shotguns. He also informed his parole officer that he was involved in a “situation” but left out any details. Police later searched Jackson’s house and found rounds of Mini‐14, .223, 9mm, and M16 ammunition. His bloody clothes and boots from the shootout were left untouched in a closet.

His parole was revoked and he was sent to jail in Nevada. There he would confess to the crime and even be visited by an FBI agent by the name of Agent Devon Mahony. Jackson’s confession was documented by Mahoney on June 29th, 2000. But nothing was done after that. Jackson’s confession was also not included in Jamil Al-Amin’s trial in March of 2002. In the midst of government surveillance on civil rights leaders and post 9/11 Islamophobia, Imam Jamil Al-Amin would be sentenced to life without parole for the crime of murdering a police officer.

Al-Amin has an appeal on May 3rd in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that could potentially allow for a retrial. Through this retrial, it is possible that evidence that was previously left out of the court, such as Otis Jackson’s testimony, could allow for Al-Amin to establish his innocence.

Arrest and Trial

Following this shooting, Imam Jamil Al-Amin would be put on the FBI’s most wanted list, and 100 FBI agents would be deployed on a manhunt to find him. Al-Amin would be arrested in White Hall, Alabama four days later. As he was arrested, FBI agent, Ronald Campbell kicked him and spit on him. It is important to note here that Imam Jamil Al-Amin was a 55-year-old religious leader. One would wonder what sort of hatred led an FBI agent to engage in such behavior towards a middle-aged clergyman.

Eventually, an officer would also find guns in the woods adjacent to where Al-Amin was found. Despite decades of FBI surveillance, there was absolutely no evidence linking Al-Amin to the guns. There was not a single fingerprint or Al-Amin’s DNA on the guns or ammunition found. The guns were also not hidden or concealed in any way. So under the state’s argument, Al-Amin meticulously cleared the weapons of his DNA and fingerprints but did not do anything to hide the weapons.

Many have suggested that it was actually Agent Campbell, the FBI agent who physically assaulted and spit on Imam Jamil Al-Amin, who planted the guns. In 1995, Campbell had been accused of shooting Glenn Thomas, an African American man, in the back of the head in Philadelphia. In that case, too, a fingerprint-less gun was found next to the man’s dead body.

In addition, Agent Campbell first claimed that he was with other police officers when he crossed the fence into the woods and found the guns. But he later, in cross-examination, claimed that he was alone. Such contradictory information and the fact that the weapons could never be proved to belong to Al-Amin makes one wonder how this could function as any sort of evidence.

It is also important to note that Al-Amin went to trial in March of 2002, less than six months after 9/11. At a time when hatred against Muslims in the United States was at an all-time high, Al-Amin showed up to court wearing a kufi. He even said to the judge and jury: “I invite you to Islam. Be Muslim and receive two rewards [i.e. That of this life and the next].”

But even in this time when hatred of Muslims was at an all-time high, the idea of this soft-spoken Imam committing a crime was still strange to so many. The New York Times wrote that “Some could not believe that the man who spent the last 25 years as a nonviolent Muslim cleric in the West End of Atlanta would explode in a seemingly unprovoked blaze of violence.”

Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s Muslim faith was also attacked by the prosecution. They told the jury “Don’t stand up for him,” in reference to Al-Amin’s religiously-based decision to not stand for the court, for which the court granted him permission to do.  

The court ruled Al-Amin guilty and he was sentenced to life without parole. Following this, the prosecuting attorney for the state said, “After 24 years, we finally got him.” In order to understand the context of this remark, one must understand the Cointelpro program that Al-Amin was targeted by before his conversion to Islam when he was H. Rap Brown.

  1. Rap Brown and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

In his late teens, H. Rap Brown joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committing (SNCC). SNCC (Pronounced “Snick”) used the tactics of nonviolent direct action in order to bring about civil rights for Black Americans. Prominent in the American South, SNCC members studied Gandhian tactics of nonviolence from James Lawson, who was then a graduate student in theology at Vanderbilt University. Future Congressman and then-SNCC Chairman, John Lewis would mentor H. Rap Brown.

In 1965, the young H. Rap Brown rose up in the organization and eventually became chairman of the Nonviolent Action Group, the Washington DC affiliate of SNCC. As head of this organization, Brown entered into an infamous White House meeting with President Lyndon B Johnson. President Johnson told Brown that SNCC’s all-night demonstration had prevented his two daughters from sleeping that night. Brown replied that he was sad for the one night his daughters were disturbed, but that “Black people in the South had been unable to sleep in peace and security for a hundred years.” He asked what the President planned to do about that, and anticipated that this issue was what this meeting was about.

Following John Lewis’ tenure as chair of SNCC, Stokely Carmichael then became chair in 1966. Inspired by the works of Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon, Carmichael understood nonviolence not as a principle, but as a tactic. He introduced the phrase “Black Power’ to the organization, and began to speak out on international issues, introducing SNCC’s opposition to the American war in Vietnam.

FBI Surveillance on H. Rap Brown

In 1967, H. Rap Brown, at the age of 23, was elected Carmichael’s successor as chairman of SNCC. Brown would take the nonviolent out of the name of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, renaming it the Student National Coordinating Committee. He lamented that “Violence is as American as cherry pie…We will use that violence to rid ourselves of oppression, if necessary. We will be free by any means necessary.” It was also under his leadership that SNCC entered into a working alliance with the Black Panther Party, giving Brown the honorary title of Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party alongside being Chairman of SNCC.

That year, the FBI contacted Brown’s wife, Karima Al-Amin, in an attempt to get her to spy on her husband for the FBI and provide reports on him to them. At this point, SNCC was being targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, which aimed at surveilling, discrediting, and disrupting political organizations that fought for the rights of Black Americans. The FBI’s COINTELPRO program called for H. Rap Brown and other prominent black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr and Stokely Carmichael to be “neutralized.”

It was through this program that J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, discovered that Martin Luther King Jr was having extramarital affairs. Attempting to use the tactic of public humiliation, Hoover wrote a letter to Martin Luther King Jr attempting to coerce him into suicide, lest he wants the world to know of his infidelity.

In December of 1969, two Black Panthers in Chicago fell victim to this neutralization after a 14-man police raiding force collaborated with the FBI. The police murdered 21-year-old, Fred Hampton and 22-year-old, Mark Clark, two members of the Black Panther Party in a pre-dawn raid in their Chicago homes.

In a meeting with President Lyndon B Johnson, FBI Director Hoover said, in reference to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr, “We wouldn’t have any problem if we could get those two guys fighting; if we could get them to kill one another off.”

This FBI campaign of neutralization caught up to H. Rap Brown. After giving a speech in Cambridge, Maryland in July of 1970, he was grazed with bullets from police while walking a young woman home. That night, fires occurred in the city. Brown would be accused of arson and inciting riots in the city. Later evidence would show that Brown had no relation to such fires, and they actually came from the inaction of the Cambridge Fire Department, which had a hostile relationship with its Black community. But the head of the Cambridge Police Department pinned the charge on Brown, accusing him of “a well-planned Communist attempt to overthrow the government.”

Congress would then pass the “H. Rap Brown” law in his name that would make it illegal to cross state lines in order to incite a riot. Then Governor of Maryland and soon-to-be Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew stated that “I hope they pick him up soon, put him away, and throw away the key.”  

Like many leaders in the movement such as Angela Davis, Brown would be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and run away from the authorities spending time in Africa, before eventually being brought back to Maryland in 1970 for trial. It was there that he would be sentenced to 5 years at Attica Prison in New York City.

In his time in prison, H. Rap Brown accepted Islam and took the name, “Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.”

Conversion to Islam and Reinvention as Jamil Al-Amin

Following his release from prison in 1976, Al-Amin traveled to India, Pakistan, and West Africa to study Islam. He then embarked travel to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage before moving to Atlanta to establish a Muslim community in the impoverished and crime-ridden West End neighborhood.

In West End, the former radical firebrand reemerged as a pious, soft-spoken, and bookish Muslim scholar concerned about the spiritual and social resurrection of the neighborhood. He preached Islam to drug dealers and prostitutes in the neighborhood and sought an intense anti-drug campaign.

In the West End Mosque, they called the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, out loud five times a day, so that the whole neighborhood could hear it. Al-Amin was of the belief that change of society could only come after people had changed themselves through the act of prayer.

Imam Khalil Abdur-Rashid, the current Muslim Chaplain at Harvard University who grew up in Imam Jamil’s West End community, mentioned in his Ph.D. dissertation:

“He would retain his devotion to changing the prevailing system and worked to teach his community to cultivate an alternative way of living that is not indicative of token social justice programs. He taught the importance of the five pillars of Islam and revolutionary ‘technologies of the self’ that, when actualized at the communal level, transform the society into a better one. He still remained non-violent but still dedicated himself to teaching social revolution through a revolutionary approach to Islamic practice.

“The mission of a believer in Islam is totally different from coexisting or being a part of the system. The prevailing morals are wrong. Western philosophy…has reduced man to food, clothing, shelter, and the sex drive, which means he doesn’t have a spirit. In Islam, we’re not talking about getting the poor to vote. We’re not talking about empowering poor people with money. We’re talking about overturning that whole thing.”

He preached and wrote about the understanding of the centrality of prayer, charity, diet, pilgrimage, family, and struggle as the core elements of person and by extension social change. His book entitled, Revolution By The Book, published in 1994, is the first American Muslim liberation theology manifesto. Whereas much Christian liberation theology centralizes its attention on social concern for the poor and liberation of the oppressed, Imam Jamil’s Revolution By The Book begins with the individual turning inward to correct decadent ways and through reform of the self, one may then begin to look outward at institutions that are also in need of reform. He explains that,

“When you understand your obligations to God then you can understand your obligations to society. Revolution comes when human beings set out to correct decadent institutions. We must understand how this society has fallen away from righteousness and begin to develop, Islamically, the alternative institutions to those that are in a state of decline around us. But, we must first enjoin right and forbid wrong to ourselves. That is the first step in turning this thing around: turn yourself around!”

Many who had known him pre-conversion to Islam spoke of how much Al Amin had changed from the H. Rap Brown that once was.

A former SNCC colleague, Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, commented on Al Amin’s speech at the funeral of former SNCC Chairman, Stokely Carmichael. The talk included numerous other pillars of the civil rights movement such as John Lewis and Diane Nash. Thelwell stated:

The only real departure and my only surprise came when Imam Al-Amin spoke. What he delivered in tribute to his old friend was a thoughtful, Islam-inflected reflection on the nature of oppression and the moral duty, the religious imperative, of the faithful to resist. Liberally adorned with Koranic quotations, it was, as I recall, an erudite, elegantly constructed, finely reasoned explication of the categories and nature of oppression, and the moral dimensions and complexities of struggle as expressed in the prophetic poetry of the Arabian desert some 1,400 years earlier. In any terms–culturally speaking–it was scholarly. I found it startling in a curious way: It did not quite fit either stylistically or culturally with what had gone before, yet was completely appropriate.

As he spoke, I remember thinking: Ah, so this is what a serious Islamic sermon sounds like, huh? Rap really takes this calling seriously. The brother is indeed an Islamic scholar, an imam. (I took in the hang-jawed look of astonishment and dawning professional respect that crossed Minister [Louis] Farrakhan’s face as he listened to be confirmation of my impression..”

In an article titled “Growing Up West End,” Masood Abdul Haqq wrote about being a member of Imam Jamil Al Amin’s West End community.

When my family and I first moved to Atlanta in the fall of 1992, the West End Muslim scene unfolded like some sort of Black Muslim Utopia. A soulful adhan was the soundtrack to Black children of all ages in kufis and khimars playing with each other on either side of the street. The intersecting streets near the masjid gave way to a large covered basketball court, on which the game in progress had come to a halt due to the number of players who chose to answer the melodic call to prayer. Overlooking this scene from the bench in front of his convenience store, like a shepherd admiring his flock, was a denim overall and crocheted kufi-clad Imam Jamil.

Before I heard him utter a single word, it was obvious to me that I was in the presence of a transcendent leader.

The early 1990’s was an exciting time to be in Atlanta. However, one of the unfortunate undercurrents of our booming urban economy was the inevitable rise of the drug trade. Reagan had been out of office for a full term, but his crack epidemic and trickle down economics were still very prevalent in inner city neighborhoods across the country. The West End was no exception. At the intersection of Holderness Street and Lucille Avenue, just 100 yards from my childhood home and four city blocks from the West End Masjid, stood a notorious motorcycle club and corner store. Both businesses were knee deep in the interests of prominent local drug dealers and it wasn’t long before that corner earned the reputation as a “million dollar block.”

One might think living so close to such a dangerous corner would make for a tale of hard knocks, peer pressure, and intimidation. For the Muslim kids, that was the furthest thing from our reality. Instead, we ran around that neighborhood with impunity. When the dope boys saw us coming, they would step out of our way, offer to buy us snacks from the store, or just whisper to each other about us being “Big Slim’s folks.” Sometimes they called him Rap. Or the Imam. The bottom line was, they may have pulled the usual dope boy tricks of recruiting and terrorizing kids within the neighborhood, but us Muslim kids were off limits.

There was an honor associated with being a member of Imam Jamil’s community, a VIP hood pass that made us immune to the usual ills of this sort of environment. This street credibility from outside the Muslim community stemmed from Imam Jamil’s days as H. Rap Brown, a revolutionary fighting for Black rights. It evolved when he demonstrated the ability to bridge gaps between young and old, Muslim and non-Muslim. People respected that his entire life revolved around salat at the Masjid. This made him accessible and dependable. Five times a day, the adhan was called and Imam Jamil would either lead or appoint someone to lead the prayer. Afterwards, no one would leave unless he raised his hand for permission and got the nod from the Imam. After finishing his dhikr and du‘a, the Imam would ask, “Is there anything anyone would like to bring out?” Brothers would bring forth questions, concerns, and news from around the neighborhood, and the Imam would address it or tell the person to meet him after salat. The drug issue was at the forefront. Slowly but surely, prayer by prayer, the million dollar block was abandoned. Miraculously, after efforts to clean up the neighborhood around the million dollar block, now stands the West End Islamic Center, a beacon of hope for sustaining the community.

FBI Perception of Al Amin Post-Conversion to Islam

Despite such transformation of self that led to the transformation of the West End community, Al-Amin still remained the object of government spying that went back to the Cointelpro days. The FBI compiled a 44,000-word file on Al-Amin and his Muslim community, attempting to pin a crime upon him. Because his entire life was dedicated to praying five times a day at the mosque, developing his community, and stopping drugs and crime, the FBI could not find a single crime that Al Amin had committed.

After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Al Amin was interrogated by the FBI as to whether he played a role.

Al Amin’s brother, Ed Brown stated that:

Y’know…something happens. Say the first attempt to bomb the Trade Center, right? They feed their infallible profile into their computer. Muslim…radical…violent…anti-American, whatever, who knows. Anyway, boom, out spits the names, H. Rap Brown prominent among them. Next thing the Feds come storming into the community and haul Jamil in. This actually happened. Of course, it’s stupid. And every time they have to let him go. But how do you stop it? A goddamn nightmare, they never quit.”

Two years following that, Al-Amin would be arrested by a joint force of the FBI, local police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives after a 22-year-old, William Miles, was shot in the leg. One must wonder why the FBI was concerned about a non-fatal shooting that hit a young man’s right leg. But even in this case, Imam Jamil Al-Amin was found not guilty and cleared of any wrongdoing.

It was found that between 1992 and 1997, authorities investigated Al-Amin “in connection with everything from domestic terrorism to gunrunning to 14 homicides in Atlanta’s West End.”

While driving in Marietta, Georgia in May of 1999, Al-Amin would be pulled over in his vehicle for driving with a drive-out tag, which allows a vehicle to drive without a license plate for 30 days. Eventually, Al-Amin would be searched, and an honorary police badge, given to him by the mayor of White Hall, Alabama, would be found in his wallet. Al-Amin was charged with impersonating a police officer, driving a stolen car, and driving with expired insurance. In 2002, a Georgia judge would rule that this warrantless search violated Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s fourth amendment rights. The mayor of White Hall also wrote to how he had gifted Al-Amin this badge. Due to a snowstorm, Al-Amin’s court date for this case was canceled— and never rescheduled.

It was this traffic stop that would lead to the arrest warrant. It was from that warrant that police officers would eventually be shot and killed by Otis Jackson, who would confess to the crime and match the description of the shooter. Despite this, it would be Imam Jamil Al-Amin who would go to jail.

Al-Amin’s Time in Prison

In addition to being there for a crime that he claims he did not commit, Al-Amin has faced many violations of his rights in jail. He has been unable to attend Friday prayers and has spent the bulk of his time in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Between June and August of 2003, the federal government was also caught reading his mail, in violation of Al-Amin’s fourth amendment rights.

Despite his solitary confinement, word got around that Imam Jamil was imprisoned. Prisoners in Georgia also asked for Al-Amin to be their unified Imam “because of his credibility as a leader prior to incarceration,” in an act that was not initiated by him. This led to an FBI investigation and report titled “The Attempt to Radicalize the Georgia Department of Corrections’ Inmate Population” which established Al-Amin as the leader of this radical Muslim kingpin operating in prisons. The report failed to link Al-Amin to any extremist Muslim organization and also failed to establish how Al-Amin could lead such an extremist cell while being in solitary confinement.

Without notifying his family or legal counsel, Al-Amin was forcibly transferred by federal authorities in July of 2007. He was chained inside a vehicle for 6 hours in the 92-degree heat, while being deprived of his blood pressure medicine. Because he was unable to stand, Al-Amin was hospitalized for a night, before being transferred to the ADX prison facility in Florence, Colorado. He was then transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Arizona, a high-security federal prison for male inmates. In August of 2007, the Georgia Department of Corrections said Al-Amin was sent to federal prison because “Al-Amin’s high profile presents unique issues beyond the state prison system’s normal inmate.” It was never explained what these “unique issues” are.

Appeal on May 3rd and Potential for Retrial

Allen Garrett is a lawyer who has been working pro-bono on Al-Amin’s case since 2007. He has “discovered retaliatory actions on the part of prison officials against Al-Amin.” Moreover, he has been granted the possibility for an appeal on May 3rd, in which the court will decide whether Al-Amin can be granted a retrial for the crime he was found guilty of in 2002.

With new evidence not included in the trial such as the confession of Otis Jackson, and Agent Campbell’s lying about being alone and previous planting of fingerprint-less guns, Al-Amin has the potential to clear himself of such charges and establish his innocence. America too has changed drastically since Al-Amin was put on trial in 2002. Organizations such as Black Lives Matter have brought to light the injustice of programs such as COINTELPRO which targeted Al-Amin and other civil rights activists. The Trump era has also highlighted the irrationality of the brazen Islamophobia that aided Al-Amin’s guilty verdict.

Al-Amin’s membership in the Black Panther Party was symbolic and resulted as a result of an alliance between the Black Panther Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which he was chair of. But despite his limited affiliation, in today’s context, the Black Panthers do not have the same stigma attached to them. The movie, Black Panther, ends in Oakland, California, in an allusion to where the Black Panther Party was founded. Beyonce wore Black Panther outfits at the Super Bowl. And even Democratic Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, hardly a symbol of radicalism or even progressivism, has stated that she was inspired by the values of the party.

I spoke to Kairi Al-Amin, Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s son. He was 14-years-old when his dad was imprisoned. Since then, Kairi, now 31, has become an attorney, with the goal of freeing his dad of this crime that he did not commit. He spoke of the importance that there is in getting public opinion on the side of his father as this appeal approaches. Should the court rule in favor of this appeal, a retrial could allow for evidence previously left out to be introduced. He has created a website called, which has a fact sheet on the trial, with information on how people can be better involved.

With the public watching, it is possible that on May 3rd, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule in favor of Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s retrial, and that he can finally be given the opportunity to present the full case and be exonerated of this crime.

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